(Is This Thing Still On?)

Well, hello there, Internetland.

I'm thinking about blogging again. (There. I said it.) After a long and much-needed absence from this place, I feel a nudge back. Mostly from my kids, who say they enjoy my writing (which may just be a really nice way to say that if I am inundating the Internet with my words, perhaps I won't have enough left over to tell them to remind them to feed the dog/take out the trash/write a thank-you note/finish your algebra.) But their words have touched me. Maybe it's time.

When friends have asked why I gave up blogging, I told them that the book-writing experience used up all my words. And truly, that was the most daunting thing I've ever done. But there was more to it than that, though I'm not sure I can explain it very well. I just felt personally overwhelmed by the "noise" of the Internet. There was just SO MUCH STUFF out there–much of it really good and worth reading/watching/trying. The truth is that I think women (and I'm preaching to myself here) probably need to get themselves off the Internet and sit face-to-face with the real people in their lives–their families and friends, as well as the friends that aren't friends yet but might be if we could just get ourselves out from behind the computer. If I kept plugging along at my own little corner of Internetland, was I just making more noise? Was I part of the problem? Maybe. I'm still not sure.

I'm willing to try it–to see if blogging can be done with a little (lot) more balance than I did it the last time. Maybe I can even chronicle the journey. The only things I've written for the last two years have been checks, so please bear with me while I shake off the dust.

But where to start? I gave some thought to tossing out "Rocks In My Dryer" altogether and start with something new, to reflect this new season of writing and life. I mean, technically, (and it kind of rips my heart out to say this), there aren't rocks in my dryer anymore. There are ink pens in my dryer, as well as car keys (mercy!), notes from teenage girls (oh great, DEEP mercy!), dollar bills, and (on one particularly bad day) an iPod, but rarely any rocks. I'm more or less out of the kids-with-rocks-stuffed-in-their-pockets season of parenting. I have mixed feelings about this (mostly good, but let's go into that another day). But after some thought, I decided I couldn't quite let go of "Rocks In My Dryer"–it feels like part of the family. And I feel like there's some big, metaphorical significance to the phrase, but I haven't had enough caffeine this morning to find it.

Anyway, here's a little snapshot of where life has landed me since the last time I wrote.

I'm still plugging along in suburban Oklahoma. We moved to a new house nearly three years ago, to an elbow-room spot pretty far out of town. We love our new(-ish) place, though adapting to life in the "country" has been a little challenging for me at times. (I have to use those quotation
marks. When I say we "live in the country" Hubs looks at me like I'm crazy. We're still nine minutes to a Wal Mart, but we're 20 minutes to a TJ Maxx, so I'm practically a frontiersman.)

My kids are so grown up I just don't even know what to make of it. When I started this blog, my little Corrie was a baby; now she's a second grader. Adam, my firstborn, is going to be 16 this summer. He's six feet tall and 115 pounds, which means my part-time job has been trying to find pants that fit him. Stephen is my 14-year-old brilliant soccer star (I am not biased AT ALL), and my little Joseph is the opposite of little. He's nearly 12, and he is built like a linebacker (with a heart so tender it could melt stone).
OH, those kids. I love 'em. I love them so much I can't see straight, and let me tell you that parenting teenagers is my favorite thing I've ever done (more on that later; in the meantime, you sweet young mommas, don't believe all the horror stories.)

And, of course, there's Hubs. More of a keeper now than ever. This summer I will have officially been with that man for over half my life, and it just gets better and better. Toby the Dog is still around, too. He grows increasingly irrational with age, which means he and I are on the SAME PAGE.

And that's that. More importantly (in the unlikely even that anyone sees this blog post) how are YOU? I really want to know.


100 thoughts on “(Is This Thing Still On?)

  1. Colleen Mahoney says:

    You have no idea how happy I was when I opened my Google Reader this morning. (Sidebar – WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WHEN IT DIES IN JULY?? WHAT????). I am beyond thrilled that you are back to blogging!

  2. kate says:

    i’ve missed reading your blog too, and am glad to see you back! i have five younger siblings (we range in age from 13 to 27) and i’m now pregnant with my first baby – so i can definitely relate to “rocks” in the dryer (literal or not!).

  3. Diane says:

    So thrilled to read your blog this morning. I’ve had the same thoughts rattling around in my (empty) head. Can there be balance? Can I be balanced? Maybe that is too much to hope for. πŸ™‚
    Happy Wednesday!

  4. Barbara H. says:

    How wonderful to see a post pop up here in my Google Reader this morning! I’m looking forward to your return. I’ve always enjoyed not only what you had to say but also how you said it.
    I so agree about raising teen-agers: not horrible at all,and great fun. I’m almost out of them: my youngest will turn 20 in the fall. 😦 But at least he is still living at home while attending a community college, so my nest isn’t completely bare yet.
    In the last couple of years we moved to another state, my oldest moved out of state (terribly hard), my middle son and d-i-l moved to the same state we did (joy!), my m-i-l came to live near us in an assisted living center and is now in a nursing home. Other than that we’ve been just plugging away.
    I think balance is always going to be an issue — it’s always easy to be sidetracked in one way or another.

  5. Kelly says:

    So glad you’re back, and thank you for the encouragement. I’m one of the young moms you were whispering to, and whew… a welcome relief. My 4yo and 19mo are such a joy to me, and I hate to think of feeling any other way toward them. Glad it doesn’t have to end. πŸ™‚
    Welcome back!

  6. Amy says:

    Well, I’m so happy to see you here, and hope to see more of you. My oldest is as old as your youngest (we had a little bit of a hard time getting started, ahem) and I always love to read what you have to say and think that might be where we are headed next, as far as our stage of parenting. Incidentally, I often think that Pinterest is one, giant, Works for Me Wednesday. πŸ™‚ I have been blogging for eight years now, and I have had mixed feelings about it at different times, as well. If you decide to come back for awhile, I’ll be so happy to see you on my Google Reader. πŸ™‚

  7. Ashlee says:

    I started reading your blog right before you left, so I wasn’t around much actively commenting while you were here. But, I’ve spent so much time getting to know you while you were gone and I am so excited to see you back!

  8. Stephanie Precourt says:

    I was just thinking about you the other day, too. You were such an inspiration to me in my early years of blogging. So much has changed. It would be great to check in on you here from time to time. I do think you’d be a great influence on the next generation, too.
    Well, we moved twice in the past year and are no longer midwesterners. Ruffling my nest on the Oregon coast and I absolutely love it. We are a half hour drive through the forest (and often no cell phone service) from everything, but I can see the ocean from my window.
    PS I personally love iPods in my dryer, but truly you will always be Rocks in my Dryer no matter what you choose!

  9. blogaroni n' dees says:

    you don’t know me, i was a reader when you were blogging, but i think of you every single time i hear some object (often rocks, but sometimes chapstick, crayons, etc.) rattling around in our dryer! which is probably two-three times a week! haha!
    i often wonder how you are and have been meaning to pop over here and see if you’ve posted anything. so i was delighted to see you in boomama’s twitter feed today!

  10. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you’re back! Or, you know, considering coming back. I was just telling someone over the weekend at Blissdom how your blog was one of the first I read and how your Compassion trip changed my heart. It’s honestly a big part of why I have kept blogging. I can’t wait to read more about what you’re up to and what’s on your heart now. πŸ™‚

  11. Vickie says:

    So incredibly happy to see you pop up in my Google Reader. Welcome back! Pretty excited to see you are ‘back in business’. I look forward to ‘catching up’ with you!

  12. Jennifer says:

    So happy you’re back! I’ve pretty much given up blogging myself. (Not that I ever blogged that often to start with.) But I still read them!! So welcome back!

  13. nlynch says:

    Welcome back!!
    I gasped and squealed when I saw Boomama’s tweet.
    I also loved the teenage years. Mine are grown with big girl jobs and families! We are blessed with our first grandchild and life could not be sweeter with her in the picture…..almost too much to bare!!

  14. Kelly says:

    shannon, welcome back! i was drawn to you years ago by a kindred sense of spirit, and am thrilled to hear your voice again. i also have teens, 18 and 14, (both girls — so fun!!). looking forward to sharing the journey with you!

  15. Kim says:

    After hearing so many great things about your blog through other blogs I started following you. Then you left. Now you’re back! How exciting! I can’t wait to “meet” you (or re-meet you since I feel like I know you from your previous posts.) πŸ˜€

  16. RLR at Mom's Magic says:

    I popped over a few weeks ago to see if you had posted lately (and maybe it hadn’t shown up in my reader) – and then today, there you are! Welcome back!

  17. Annie says:

    I used to read your blog when you Corrie was a baby and today when I saw an update on reader I thought maybe spammers took over the site. So glad to see that you are thinking of writing again. I was a newly wed when I started blogging, now I have 2 children. To use a completely original expression, time flies!

  18. Kelli says:

    Let me join the legions who are OH SO HAPPY in Internetland that RIMD is once more β™₯ I have missed you, my friend.
    Jonathan is a freshman in college, pulling Dean’s List for the second time. Out of a two year relationship and trying to figure out life.
    Kati, well she is having a baby girl at the end of June, and doing it by herself. She moved back home, so we are all trying to figure out how we are going to add a screaming newborn to to music of our lives. Oy!

  19. Rachel Anne says:

    So happy to see you, Shannon. I too, have seen so very many changes in my family since I first started blogging. You were always such an inspiration to me – and still are. And now I’ve found you on twitter! My last baby left for college this year and I’m left wondering what just happened. Wow, that went fast. Somehow I’m still writing at HomeSanctuary.com and love the people in my world there. I pray good things ahead for you!!

  20. Samantha says:

    Wow. what a treat! So happy to see a post from you.
    And I’m a young mama (2 sweet boys ages 2 and 4) and I’m way to anxious about the teenage years. I would LOVE to hear from a mama who doesn’t think it’s so bad. It would ease my mind! πŸ™‚
    Can’t wait to read more of your writing!

  21. Katie @Heart Gone Walking says:

    I just KNEW I wasn’t crazy for never deleting you off my reader. My creeper-ness finally paid off. I started reading your blog when I quit work to stay home with my newborn and your stories helped preserved my sanity during that time. (My baby is now almost 6 and my second is 16 months.)
    The world needs more mamas who can tell us the teens aren’t so awful after all. Everyone turns into Grumpy Gus and Debbie Downer when “preparing” younger moms but I’ve honestly loved every year so far.
    So glad you’re back!

  22. MemeGRL says:

    Well, hey! I was just talking about you the other day. I did a major blog cull from my reader (oh, Reader, we hardly knew ye) and left yours on for sentimental but well-thought-out reasons. I am thrilled it paid off. We’ll be here when you are.
    My blog was attacked by malware (which I mention only as fair warning to you, this stuff seems to be getting worse if someone wishes malware on my teeny nonsense blog, and also that’s why I’m not linking). The family grows. And I always love advice from travelers further down the road! Welcome back!

  23. Carrie says:

    I was fairly new to the world of blogging when you hung up your keyboard; in fact, the last post you wrote was the reason I bookmarked you. At the time, I had an infant son, and reading about your beautiful hug with your man-child son made my stomach clench with the emotions I knew I would someday feel: pride, sadness, happiness, lamentation, satisfaction, and overpowering love.
    That’s when I knew I had to read everything you’d ever write, so I’ve been a little wistful that you didn’t write anything more! (Though I did enjoy your archives!)
    My oldest son is now almost 3 (how did that happen?) and I have another baby boy that is almost 10 months old. We’ve had a fantastic journey through the world of rare diseases for both my awesome kiddos, which is part of the reason I followed in your inspirational footsteps and became a blogger, myself.
    I’m more financially poor than 2 years ago, more tired, more stressed, yet somehow life is better than it has ever been. (I thank the kiddos and the hubs for that!)
    Welcome back, and can’t wait to read your thoughts again! You could never be “noise”.

  24. Rachel says:

    Welcome back! Glad you decided to return to the blogosphere – it’s nice to have you back! Looking forward to hearing more from you in the coming days, weeks, months, etc, whatever feels right.

  25. Jenn @Home is Where... says:

    I was thrilled to see you mentioned on twitter! I’ve missed you! You were, really, the second blog I ever read, way back when I didn’t really know what a blog was. I’m looking forward to reading you again!

  26. Kristen says:

    This just made my day, Shannon! Welcome, back. This great big blog world needs your voice.
    I love ipods in the dryer, too …sort of shows how you/your family has grown up πŸ™‚

  27. Lindsey says:

    Welcome back!!! You were one of the very first blogs that I really followed and there are still several posts that I think about regularly.
    Hope you decide to jump in with both feet and tell us about the other side of the preschool years! The great beyond!!

  28. Marie Gross says:

    HURRAY! I think you are one of my favorite bloggers ever. Welcome back! I admire you for taking a step back and finding balance in your life. I really hope you can work blogging back in without feeling like you’re compromising anything. I, for one, love reading everything you write!

  29. Missus Wookie says:

    I’m guessing you’ve worked out you were still in people’s readers and we’re glad you’re back. Hmm in the three years since you went ‘on vacation’ my kids have got bigger – are both adults now. I’ve stopped homeschooling, but not parenting, set up a new business and am struggling with redundancy and some other not so fun bits – whilst ensuring that we all remember joy is a choice.
    Looking forward to hearing more about this ‘elbow room’ place – looking for a new home is on our list.

  30. Jen says:

    I was SO EXCITED when you popped up in Google Reader today!!! I have a toddler now, and am expecting a second daughter in August– so the stories you told that I found amusing years ago will now resonate with me as a mom. I am so happy you’re back!!!!

  31. Kristie says:

    I’m glad to see you back, too! I started reading you just before you stopped blogging, back when my boys were babies. And now I have four kids myself and the boys are 2 and 4 years old and I have rocks in MY dryer nearly every day. Please don’t change your blog name!

  32. Hub City Girl says:

    I fell upon your last blog entry of 2011 a few months ago. I loved it so much, never noticed the date, and bookmarked your blog in my ‘daily reads’. Then, one day, I realized you weren’t updating. So , I kept the bookmark anyway because I truly LOVED your blog. Every now and then, I would check in and hope to find something new, and ALAS! Here’s a new entry! Woohoo! Super excited! Looking forward to your upcoming posts!

  33. prasti says:

    you popped up on my feed and i was so excited to come over :). i really enjoyed reading your posts (thanks to you we have a jesse tree tradition every year for the past 3 years), and I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

  34. lilakae says:

    I discovered your blog right about the time you “took a break.” I subscribed, not realizing I wouldn’t be hearing from you. 😦 What a wonderful surprise to see you sitting in my inbox today. I look forward to seeing where you will go from here. Welcome back!

  35. Robin says:

    I’m so glad you’re back! You’ve never left my blog feed. Since you took a break, I’ve adopted two kids from Africa and my world has been turned upside down.

  36. Rachel says:

    Like everyone else, I’m really glad you’re thinking about blogging again! Rocks in My Dryer was one of the reasons I started my own blog–although I’m not nearly as fun to read, I just like sharing tips and the occasional recipe.

  37. michelle says:

    I was updating my blog roll links (I didn’t blog for a year…) and when I checked your link and saw that there was a post I was like ‘well, alright!’ I hope you keep the name of your blog. I know, kids grow up so dang fast, it’s bittersweet. I’m glad you’re back. πŸ™‚ xoxo

  38. KM says:

    I’m still around. Although, if you had written this in a few months when google reader goes away I’m not sure I would have found it. I’ve been trying to find my place for blogging. There’s this season…with kids 2nd, 4th, and 5th grades…where I haven’t had time to type. And I’m just now getting back to it. But I’ve got to find a way to get my words back on my page.

  39. Amy @ Tiny Blessings says:

    So glad to “see” you again! I’ve kept your blog on my suscription list (on Reader, just moved to Bloglovin’) in the hopes that you might be back again… your was one of the first blogs I read regularly. My own blog goes in spells- I might blog a few times a week, or I not blog for a month– luckily it’s always there when we want to return to it.

  40. Jenny says:

    You’ve been in my feedreader all this time (I just don’t check it that often!), so WELCOME BACK! I’ve kind of given up blogging myself, and even the frequent reading of blogs. It was necessary for me. Like people above me have mentioned, yours was one of the first blogs I started reading regularly. And with 2 boys who are 3 and 6, I am fully in that “rocks in the dryer” mode right now. Rocks, bugs, play doh, gum, random small toys, and occasionally, the 3 year old.

  41. Janmary, N Ireland says:

    My heart skipped a wee beat when I saw you in my blog feed!!!
    Hello from N Ireland – wow – lots been happening since I first found your blog and blogging WAY back when.
    Kids now 15, 13 and 8.
    I now create jewellery which I sell in stores here in N Ireland, I love my iphone, especially my iphone camera and Instagram (are you there?) (I’m Janmary there) and I have started teaching iphone photography workshops in our local arts centre!
    I feel like I “know” you, and it’s like we bumped into each other at Target (I wish! – none in N Ireland) and have got all caught up again πŸ™‚ (although you probably don’t remember me and wonder who this weird person is who is chattering on!)
    Anyhow, lovely to see you back, hope you stay πŸ™‚

  42. Jill says:

    I was cleaning out my reader this week (and weeping that it was going away) and had my hand paused over the button to delete you off my reader. But somehow I just couldn’t do it. Yours was the very first blog I read and pretty much the reason I started (I love her blog, I think I could do that!!). I just switched last month from The Diaper Diaries to Just Jilly for pretty much the reasons you described. No more kids in diapers 😦 I am happy you are back. Even if it is sporatically.

  43. Pam says:

    Seems to be a common thread running through blogland lately. I honestly hadn’t thought about a blog in ages, let alone thought about posting anything whatsoever. Then slowly but surely several of my favorites started showing up in my reader with new posts. Ladies who have been faced with the same balance issues, same curiosity as to whether we have anything to say and whether anyone outside of our own home would have any desire to read those thoughts anyway. I began feeling the very same nudge you described. I am back for the better I hope and looking forward to how God moves us all to share in this forum again.
    I completely understand the shift in parenting as I now parent 17, 14 and 13 year olds with far different issues and needs than when I first put my fingertips to the keyboard for that first blog post back in ’05. Welcome Back, Shannon! I couldn’t find it in my heart to weed you from my feed either, and I am so glad I didn’t.

  44. Rhonda says:

    Waaaa Hoooooo! I felt like I just stumbled onto your blog and then you took a LOA, but that’s my timing. So glad you are back. πŸ™‚

  45. Rebecca (Ramblings by Reba) says:

    I was thinking of you the day before this popped up in my Reader. Hooray! It was so good to see you! πŸ™‚
    I’ve not been blogging much either.
    I was STUNNED to read how old your kids are now.
    I look forward to reading more from you!

  46. Deborah says:

    I miss your blog. I just popped in to look for an old favorite post to print out for my MOPS group, and I saw that you posted. I’m good – I was a loyal reader (lurker!) when my oldest was a baby (he’s now 8) and I’ve had two more children – my daughter, Corrie (5) and my son Ben. Ben is 19 months old, has a great smile, and has Down syndrome. The arrival of our third child – plus the additional therapies, doctors of his first year – really rocked my world. I miss your corner of the internet. πŸ™‚

  47. Smellyann says:

    Hey, you’re back. Wow! I have to admit, I have so many blogs in my reader now that I’d kind of forgotten about RimD, except that I didn’t really, because “Works For Me Wednesday” is still a category in my own blog, and every time I was choosing amongst the many categories for my posts, WFMW was there, reminding me. And I always liked you and your down-to-earth posts, and I’m glad you’re back.
    How am I? Well. In a nutshell, life is cray-cray and so am I!

  48. Meagan(Musing) says:

    I was just thinking the other day that Works for me Wednesday must be the longest running internet linkup ever. Shannon, yours was one of the very first blogs I read, and I loved it so much, even before I was a mom myself. I often think of that last post you wrote about your oldest son and the hug in the kitchen and I squeeze my four year boy a little tighter. They grow up so very fast. I’m so happy to see you here in your space, and I’d love to see you as often as you can be here!

  49. Megan@SortaCrunchy says:

    SHANNON What an absolute JOY (!!!) to see you return to this space. You were in so many ways my very first blogging mentor, albeit always from afar. I adored everything you shared here – the serious and the silly. It would be an honor to get to here what is going on in the Rocks household now. πŸ˜‰
    Waving HI from OKC! Looking forward to more!

  50. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

    Oh what miraculous news. I’m still subscribed to RIMD though my trusty (and soon-to-be-extinct, did you even HEAR this news!?) Google Reader and delighted to hear you’re considering a return to writing. You’ve been sorely missed. (I can’t believe your babies are that grown. But then again, I can’t believe mine are as grown as they are, either. Time, you need to stop this nonsense!)
    Write on with your irrational self, Mama. We’re listening!

  51. Melanie Harrington says:

    Welcome Back! You were the first blogger I ever read and I loved your “voice” so much. On a whim I googled Rocks in My Dryer this afternoon and there you were again. It’s my birthday today and I feel like I have just received a wonderful gift.

  52. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    This makes me irrationally happy.
    You know why you are needed here, woman? Because you are wise. And you are funny. And Lord give me mercy for saying it but, you are just a step ahead of most of us. So many great bloggers so silent as their kids age, and I get that. I do. But those of us nipping on your heels, in this parenting game, we are desperate for wisdom. For companionship. For some guidance on what’s coming next.
    So glad you are back.

  53. ohAmanda says:

    Yipppee yay! So glad to hear your voice again!
    I was just thinking of you this weekend during Easter b/c I think you are the one that introduced me to the Jesus Storybook Bible and to doing all the Eastery stuff on the First Day of Spring. Thank you for inspiring me and to bring my kids closer to Jesus. πŸ™‚

  54. Sarah Williams says:

    I have to comment because I was thinking about you THIS MORNING!!! Yours is the first blog I ever read (I had it bookmarked on my computer screen…it was my only bookmark).
    Your baby is just a smidge older than my first born (of 4). In those first few years of being a new mom, I grew so much from your blog (among others but mostly yours and the WFMW).
    Lately, however, I have felt similar feelings to what you felt. My blog has, like, 5 readers, so I am talking more about the ones I read. What used to help me and inspire me to become who I am today has become too much, so I don’t read much anymore (except close friends).
    Anyway, I love that your back! My point in the comment is that your post kind of made my blog-love come full circle.
    I hope you’re back. I have a good rhythm with the early years….now i need inspiration for the middle and teen years!

  55. Elizabeth says:

    Funny, I clicked over to your blog by accident, and there you were! Fun to see you back to writing, and I totally agree with you, having teenagers is awesome! Hard in new, unexpected ways, but amazing.

  56. Liza Pierce at A Maui Blog says:

    Believe it or not, your blog is still on my blogroll and I check it every now and then to see if there’s a new post. Today I did and lo and behold, I saw that the latest post was April 3rd! Welcome back to the internetz! Take it easy … as we say here in Hawaii – just “talk story” πŸ™‚ I am glad you’re back.

  57. Susan G says:

    Welcome back!! I hit your blog in my bookmarks by accident on my phone and I was so surprised to see not one, but two posts!

  58. Headless Mom says:

    Oh Shannon! How I’ve missed you!
    I just read one of your posts to my husband the other day and wondered how you and your family were doing.
    Really, really SO thrilled to see you back.

  59. Don Dunn says:

    So, you’re going for balance, huh? I’ll be interested to see how it looks on you. Never saw it before! πŸ™‚ Dad

  60. Cathy Dunn says:

    I’m so glad you’re doing this! You have my complete support. From your unbiased fan who thinks you’re the best blogger ever! Mom

  61. Beth says:

    Wow! Let me just say that I came across your blog just a couple of weeks ago and didn’t even realize it wasn’t current. I’m working on starting my blog and a couple of your posts really grabbed my attention as did your wonderful name! Glad to open it up today and learn that you are blogging again (and then you stopped, haha). Looking forward to reading your blog especially since I am now fascinated with bloglovin’ which makes it even easier to keep on top of it all!!!

  62. Christy says:

    Have you looked into Feedly? I was devastated when I heard Google Reader was bidding us adieu. Feedly is grea, and in some ways more reader friendly than Google Reader. The best part? It automatically imports all your subscriptions from Reader!

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